These cookies are a Taiwanese and Chinese specialty that are particularly popular and can be found anywhere around the time of the Lunar New Year. Relatively uninteresting judging from their outside appearance, these cookies are a delicious surprise, because when you bite into them you get a gooey pocket of tasty pineapple and melon jam filling.
If you’ve had these before and couldn’t get them out of your head, or you’re just looking for a new and interesting sweet to introduce to people, this is an excellent choice! Again, not only do they taste great, but people aren’t expecting the yummy filling and will be so happy when they get to it! You could make these, wrap them up in cellophane and then gift them to loved ones, or you could present them as non-traditional lumps of coal and use them as stocking stuffers! Of course, the old stand-by of making them and then enlisting your family to gobble them up with you is also understood and encouraged! There’s no right or wrong way to present these, but you should give them a try since they’re so good!
Pineapple Shortbread Cookies
Yields approx. 2 dozen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cornflour
- 3 tablespoons milk powder
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 2 teaspoons pineapple essence
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 pounds winter melon (winter/white gourd), peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup high maltose corn syrup
- For the shortbread: in a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter, shortening and powdered sugar for 5-7 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Beat in egg yolks one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next. Then add pineapple essence.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornflour and milk powder, and slowly fold into wet, egg mixture. Beat until dough comes together.
- Take equal pieces of dough and divide in half. Roll each half in a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate dough for 20-30 minutes, or until chilled.
- Place diced pineapple in food processor and pulse, scraping down sides, until semi-smooth, but still somewhat coarse. Transfer to a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Repeat with winter melon and transfer to same Dutch oven.
- Cook fruit over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until melon is translucent and majority of liquid has evaporated. 20-25 minutes.
- Lower heat and add sugar. Continue cooking until sugar has dissolved and mixture is thick and jam-like. 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in corn syrup, stirring continuously, until fully incorporated and entire mixture is a light amber color. About 10 minutes.
Note: mixture should be thick enough to scoop up and roll into a packed ball.
- Refrigerate mixture until chilled.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and divide each dough half into 10-12 equal-sized balls.
- Gently flatten each ball into a 2-inch round, then place 1/2-1 tablespoon pineapple filling on top of round and carefully seal the dough around and on top of it.
- Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining cookies.
- Place cookies in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Recipe adapted fromSerious Eats.